Cyber War Game in Temporal Networks

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In a cyber war game where a network is fully distributed and characterized by resource constraints and high dynamics, attackers or defenders often face a situation that may require optimal strategies to win the game with minimum effort. Given the system goal states of attackers and defenders, we study what strategies attackers or defenders can take to reach their respective system goal state (i.e., winning system state) with minimum resource consumption. However, due to the dynamics of a network caused by a node’s mobility, failure or its resource depletion over time or action(s), this optimization problem becomes NP-complete. We propose two heuristic strategies in a greedy manner based on a node’s two characteristics: resource level and influence based on k-hop reachability. We analyze complexity and optimality of each algorithm compared to optimal solutions for a small-scale static network. Further, we conduct a comprehensive experimental study for a large-scale temporal network to investigate best strategies, given a different environmental setting of network temporality and density. We demonstrate the performance of each strategy under various scenarios of attacker/defender strategies in terms of win probability, resource consumption, and system vulnerability.